Refined sugar is ubiquitous in our culture; omitting the obvious sources of refined sugar such as confectionery and many carbonated drinks, sugar is the most common ingredient in food today especially in processed foods.
Many people are simply unaware of the amount of sugar they consume since sugar is often hidden under less familiar names such as dextrose, maltose, high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin just to name a few. There are actually nearly 60 different forms of sugars under different names and they may be present in over two thirds of processed foods.
A problem that many people also face is that they are simply unaware of the amount of sugar that they consume on a daily basis, or how much they are actually consuming on a daily basis. Less than five decades ago, the average person consumed one pound (453 grams) of sugar per year. Current views are that a large percentage of the population are consuming between 110-230 grams of sugar per day which is an astonishing statistic.
Refined Sugar is addictive and could be categorized as a poison
Sugar is addictive and sugar addiction is real. Eating sugar triggers the production of natural opiods in the brain. Opiods are compounds that are normally used to relieve pain. Our tongue has two sweet receptors and when you consume something sweet, signals are sent to the reward centre in the brain which overrides the self-control receptors in the brain which can lead to addiction. This is just one of the mechanisms of how we may get addicted to sugar.
Sugar cravings occur as a result of insulin converting sugar into energy and any excess is stored as fats. Once levels of sugar drop in the bloodstream, the brain receptors signal you to eat more carbohydrates and sugary foods are nearly always the first food type that people pick to eat.
Sugar addiction would not exist if we all cooked from scratch using whole foods and simply added seasoning, but the problem applies if we eat processed foods, such as ready-made meals, condiments such as tomato ketchup and canned food such as baked beans.
The word sugar here implicates all types of sugars including honey, agave, table sugar, high fructose corn syrup and fructose, which is often labelled as fruit sugar and is equally worse, if not more so. The difference between added fructose and fructose found in fruits is different; the fructose present in fruit contains fibre and is not just empty calories.
By definition a ‘poison’ is any substance that can induce a disease. When sugar is metabolised, the by-products of this metabolism, including purvic acid, are toxins that damage our cells and protein structures; they are definitely toxic to the body, which could lead to disease.
How unhealthy is refined sugar?
Sugar in moderate amounts is actually essential for the body. Being a carbohydrate, it supplies the body and the cells within our bodies with energy required to perform all the activities required throughout the day. The problem is that sugar is also a calorific food and if consumed in excess it can impact your health.
Refined sugar negatively affects every single gland within our bodies. The link between sugar and disease has been known for more than a decade and in recent years sugar has been under more scrutiny as scientists believe that many chronic diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and liver disease may in great parts be associated with our addiction of refined sugar.
Refined sugar is implicated in causing vitamin and mineral imbalances in the body, particularly of calcium, chromium and vitamin E. Refined sugar leaches the reserve of vitamins and minerals stored in the body and the depletion of these nutrients prevents the rebuilding of tissues. Sugar also increases acidity in the body and in order to neutralise this acid state, the body leaches calcium out from bones and teeth, making them weaker and prone to degeneration.
I am highlighting below just some of the hundreds of possible concerns why refined sugar and excess sugar consumption are bad for you:
- promotes harmful cholesterol and reduces good cholesterol
- promotes hardening of the arteries and increases risk of heart disease
- suppresses the immune system
- causes weight gain especially around the mid-riff region
- damages proteins in the body leading to the increased ageing of skin, organs and glands
- anxiety, depression and lack of concentration
- encourages harmful pathogens to thrive in the gut and linked closely to candida overgrowth
- is linked to hormonal imbalances
- promotes excess stomach acidity
It is clear that sugar, in particular refined sugar, is very bad for you and your family. Sugar metabolism produces specific compounds termed AGEs. The full name for AGEs is Advanced Glycation Endproducts and they are toxic compounds found in most the food we eat. They damage every cell, capillary, artery, vein and glands, including the genetic material within the body, and because they are oxidants, they deplete our antioxidant stores, which are normally used to fight off these compounds. Refined sugar is a big culprit of AGEs production, but studies have shown that the correct supplementation can help keep sugar levels to within finite limits by reducing the production of AGEs.
Chromium regulates blood sugar
As I have mentioned above, excess glucose not only increases the risk of many diseases but also has an impact on our longevity genes required for extended lifespan. It is therefore essential to keep a tight rein on our blood sugar levels.
Over fifty years of research has shown that chromium supplements effectively control blood sugar levels and that a deficiency of chromium can directly contribute to high blood sugar levels and pre-diabetic complications. One in three of the adult population are thought to be chromium deficient. The causes are likely to be associated with commercial farming that deplete the soil of chromium as well as food processing which depletes many nutrients including chromium from food.
All cells within our bodies have an internal signalling mechanism which detects and responds to elevated glucose levels in the blood. When cells detect this excess blood sugar levels, a whole series of biochemical reactions come into play to manage this burden and it is here that chromium plays a part. Chromium increases uptake and breakdown of sugar by the cells effectively lowering blood sugar levels. Interestingly, chromium also displays a unique property in that it selectively lowers blood glucose levels – its action only occurs when glucose levels are high and not when they are normal.
Scientists have discovered that the most important time to help regulate blood sugar is immediately after eating. During this period, blood sugar levels can spike dramatically inflicting low level damage, which is cumulative on all the glands and tissues within the body. Chromium helps reduce the time that these tissues are exposed to glucose and its metabolites.
A chromium supplement that I would recommend is Optimized Chromium with Crominex 3+. This supplement contains chromium which is stabilised by the addition of two herbs, Indian gooseberry and Shilajit. Indian gooseberry shields against glucose damage whilst Shilajit, rich in Fulvic Acid, enhances cellular metabolism of glucose by transporting it to the cells.
Optimized Chromium with Crominex 3+ should help to keep glucose levels within the normal limits and prevent sugar spikes after each meal. Remember, in a lifetime we are going to be ingesting a fair number of meals which means sugar spikes on a daily basis let alone the sugar that is already going to be present in many of our meals.